How supply chains raised against COVID-19 to deliver medical supplies

“Logistics companies are used to being nimble—we respond to hurricanes and disasters everywhere. We’re always ready.”

Covid-19 brought global supply chain and logistics to it’s knees with an unprecedented speed. Wade Shepard writes for Forbes about logistics companies that are adjusting their processes in order to bring medical supplies to countries struggling with novel Corona Virus.

”With the sudden lack of both supply and demand, as well as the disruption to air and sea freight, global logistics firms have been scrambling to pick up the pieces and re-establish the vital connections that hold the world of trade and commerce together. Out of this melee, some logistics firms have capitalized on the moment, finding new sources of demand and new roles to fill in a crisis that’s unlike anything we’ve seen before.
When we hear presidents and prime ministers talking about getting safety equipment and test kits out to the COVID-19 hotspots that need them, the task actually falls on the shoulders of logistics firms, who are often called on in times of crises to move things fast. In the coronavirus pandemic, some logistics firms have pivoted from solely operating as vectors for the transfer of goods to becoming the carriers of life-saving medical equipment.”

UPS’s healthcare division partnered with Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force, thus becoming one of the key transporters of vital testing equipment.
In China, as Xi Jinping talks about the creation of a new “Health Silk Road,” it is the logistics companies on the ground that are doing the heavy lifting. Right now, a freight train that departed from Yiwu on March 21 is chugging across Russia. Within 10 days, it will be pulling into Madrid laden with 110,000 medical masks and 800 protective suites—sorely needed medical supplies for a country that has been ravaged by COVID-19.
“Since Spain has the problem and in China it seemed to be a little more under control, we felt like it was our obligation to help,” says Carlos Santana, the general manager of Timex Industrial Investment (YXE), the company that manages the rail route and paid for the donation.

While Covid-19 certainly wasn’t in anyone’s predictions for 2020, and there was no way to fully prepare for a disruption of this magnitude, it only serves to show that supply chains are in fact nimble, resilient and adaptable and while it will certainly be a long process, the logistics industry will come out of this stronger than before.

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